Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson, David Denick, David Thewlis, Devon Bostick, Dale Dickey & Aaron Ashmore
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
Inspired by true events, Director Alejandro Amenábar’s (The Others) Regression finds Detective Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke, Boyhood) investigating the troubled case of the victimized Angela (Emma Watson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) who accuses her father (David Denick, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) of sexual abuse. Accepting guilt of the crime with little to no memory of its occurrence, Kenner calls upon the respected Professor Raines (David Thewlis, The Theory of Everything) to unlock the dark memories hidden inside, triggering a nationwide panic of satanic worship and deceit. Utilizing the wildly reported claims of devil worshippers and sacrificial crimes during the late 80s and early 90s, Regression enters a bleak playground of fear that was very real for its time although its validity would ultimately prove false. Set in the overcast lands of Minnesota circa 1990, frightened teen Angela seeks solace from her local church to evade further sexual abuse from her father and imminent danger from mysterious satan worshippers. As the lines begin to connect, Detective Bruce Kenner uncovers a link between Angela’s abuse and members of his own department when an experimental psychological technique is implemented to retrieve repressed memories from the subconscious. When the local community and the media’s interest in the occult increases, Kenner finds himself confronted with nightmarish imagery and threats that may or may not be happening, rattling his judgement of the case. Continuing his successful streak of horror fueled pictures including Sinister and The Purge, Ethan Hawke delivers a fine performance as the hard-boiled detective itching to find justice for Angela only to discover a darker evil at play. In addition, the lovely Emma Watson conjures a strongly layered performance as the fragile victim who cries wolf only to have her own testimony being questioned. Mysteriously plotted with suggestions of the supernatural and the black arts, Regression delivers a well-crafted investigative thriller that some may feel slighted by in its revealing third act. While its conclusion may not be as haunting as one would predict, the message is a strong reminder of the dangers of falling victim to hysteria and that the most vile monsters exist among us.
Anchor Bay Entertainment presents Regression with a 1080p transfer, sporting a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Cast under grey skies and darker tones, the film succeeds in delivering inky black levels with healthy depth and no anomalies. Skin tones are healthily handled with sharp detail while, the subdued colors and textures of Kenner’s suits are appropriately captured. Equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, ideal sound quality is effortlessly achieved with clear dialogue levels and ghostly music touches while, the dreary ambiance of the rainy environment is also appreciatively captured. Light and rather repetitive as each supplement covers similar ground, special features include, Ethan Hawke - Bruce’s Obsession (2:04), Emma Watson - The Complexity of Angela (2:30), The Cast of Regression (2:26) and The Vision of Regression (2:43). In addition, a Digital HD Code is also included. Formulating an intriguing whodunit against the backdrop of one of the countries most scandalizing reports, Regression plays its cards carefully with worthy performances and a suspenseful pace. Concluding on a more grounded and unsettling note, Director Alejandro Amenábar’s return to his darker roots is a pleasing feature, excellently presented courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment.
Available now from Anchor Bay Entertainment, Regression can be purchased via Amazon.com and other fine retailers.